News: III Corps and Fort Hood honor the National Colors every day
Story by Sgt. Ken Scar
FORT HOOD, Texas - Twice a day, every day, U.S. military bases stop everything. In the morning, during the Reveille ceremony as the American flag is raised, and at the end of the day, during Retreat, when it is lowered.
At Fort Hood, the National Colors fly on a pole that stands in front of the III Corps Headquarters building, which lies just inside the main gate of the base.
Military personnel are required to come to attention and render honors as the bugle call is played, either toward the flag or toward the direction of the music if the flag is not visible. Road traffic stops for the ceremonies, and soldiers exit their vehicles wherever they are to salute. For those still working inside buildings, all activity is halted and soldiers stand at attention facing in the direction of the flag.
At Fort Hood, most soldiers are just mustering for physical training as Reveille sounds and neat formations of soldiers in PT uniforms line both sides of the main roads for miles. As Retreat sounds, most soldiers are wrapping up their days and heading home, so idling cars with soldiers standing and saluting outside their open doors form long lines at every intersection.
The bugle calls for each ceremony blast across Fort Hood with a network of speakers mounted on top of telephone poles. Each bugle call is punctuated by a cannon shot from field guns located in front of the flagpole.
A formation of III Corps and Fort Hood soldiers is tasked with raising and lowering the National Colors every day. It is a solemn ritual and being a part of that formation is considered a high honor.
The flag is treated with reverence, never touching the ground and being folded and unfolded with the utmost care. Once the flag has been gathered and folded after Retreat, it is escorted into the III Corps Headquarters building, which is called to attention as the flag crosses the threshold. The command of “at ease” is called once the flag has been safely stored, ready to be flown again the next morning.